We used to visit my aunt in a nursing facility and I couldn't get over how stark and depressing the rooms and hallways were. It felt like they thought, because the patients weren't all there in the head, that the atmosphere didn't matter. Well the first thing we did, was get my aunt in a wheelchair and wheel her to the front lobby. It had large picture windows, a fireplace, seating areas and a piano. It was a stark contrast to the dreary rooms where she was cared for. My mom would then play piano and we'd gather around to sing hymns. My mom and her sister were pastors daughters and that music was ingrained in them. My aunt would cry and sing (not clearly at all), but couldn't speak. Even though she couldn't respond, we'd sit around and chat with one another and take in the light and music. Many months down the road we'd visit and my aunt was no longer able to sing. But we'd still wheel my aunt to the front and my mom would play piano. My aunt would have tears on her cheeks and her skin would get very warm. I think a part of her was there and her body was responding as her words failed her. I just can't help but think that atmosphere is important...whether in the home or in a nursing facility. Warm lights, filtered sunlight, fresh colored painted walls, music and even aroma therapy. I know it won't bring them back, but do you think it provides some benefits? I'd like to know that one day if I wasn't all there in the head , that my loved ones were still providing a place for me rich with music and light and life!! My mom is now starting to exhibit signs of dementia. She's been at my house visiting and I've opened the curtains to let the light in, played music and turned on twinkle lights and opened windows for fresh air. I swear her mood is better when visiting here. What do you all think? Does the atmosphere help comfort even when they don't respond with words?